Whiskey Drinkers Are about to get a Crash Course in Capitalism

Posted: Jun 27, 2014 12:45 AM

Hunt down your favorite label of rye, and keep an extra bottle in your cabinet. Due to market forces beyond our control, the great whiskey drought of the 2010’s will soon be upon us. I know what you’re thinking: Is this how the apocalypse arrives? Peter Venkman probably articulated the magnitude of this news better than anyone:

But… There is some good that will come from all this. If you happen to know a hipster liberal who looks down their nose at you, because they’re too busy sipping some obscure brand of whiskey, you might be able to conduct a little impromptu economics lesson. You might even be able to convince them that free markets are not about big-business or big profits (well… not entirely), they’re just democracy in action.

So next time you’re out at the bar, or tipping back a Templeton Old Fashioned with your Don Drapper wannabe liberal buddy (doesn’t he know Don’s a registered Republican?), whip out the headline conversation starter: “This stuff might be hard to get soon…”

Don’t get discouraged when they initially blame George Bush. It’s just a knee jerk reaction, because they assume what follows will be a rant against Democrat policies, or “big-government”. So now is when you get to surprise them by simply taking a sip of your drink, and casually blaming “big business”.

Such an utterance could yield a variety of reactions: They might quizzically raise an eyebrow, they might simply nod in smug approval of your words, or they might break out into a spontaneous Occupy Wall Street rally. Regardless of their reaction, this is exactly when you want to explain why the big-bad-businesses are about to take whiskey away from the proletariat. (Yeah… You can use that. They’ll love it.)

See, whiskey isn’t exactly a “liquid commodity”. Wait… We should start that over: Whiskey takes a while to distil. And by “a while”, we’re talking 5-20 years when you consider the aging process. As a result, “whiskey reserves” can’t exactly be increased overnight. So when distillers began the process of barreling what we are drinking today (several years ago), fickle consumers were ditching the wonderful world of rye. Cranberry and vodka, appletinis, and dirty martinis were the major focus for the average bar-goer. As a result, producers of bourbon didn’t anticipate the most recent boom to their popularity. Demand has outpaced supply by 2 to one.

In the short term, this might be bad news for consumers. Prices could go up and certain handcrafted labels will probably be harder to find. But in the long run, this will be good for the industry and the consumer. Eventually, supply will increase, demand will decrease, and the market will be flooded with whiskey. (Not as delicious as it sounds.)

Ok… Get ready. This is where you have to win over your liberal friend:

When the drought corrects itself (several years from now) things may get tough for distillers. Prices for some labels will plunge, and competition among the many brands will become cutthroat. Only the best, most loved, most widely enjoyed whiskeys will emerge from this boom and bust cycle unscathed and healthy. Which is why free markets are so democratic in nature. (Careful. At this point, their head could explode.) Democracy, after all, is simply the will of the masses; and what’s more democratic than consumers being provided with the products and services that they enjoy and demand? It’s not about “corporate Darwinism”, or “creative destruction”… It’s about businesses only surviving by giving “the people” what they want at a price they are willing to pay. Essentially, capitalism was built for the huddled masses… Not the elites.

If you have properly conveyed this message to your Manhattan-sipping liberal, one of two things will likely happen next: Either they will immediately get on their smartphone and download the unabridged version of Atlas Shrugged, or (more likely) they will roll their eyes and mutter something about “the man” rigging the system. But, hey… At least you tried.

Now, I’m serious: Go buy your whiskey; because things are going to get dry out there.